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Review (2/2)

Innovative Door Concept

Among the car's key design and functionality-related innovations are the two side doors. Their length and the specially designed arrangement of the door sills allow extremely comfortable access to all the seats in the MINI Rocketman Concept. When opened, the doors pivot outwards complete with their sills, enabling the driver and front passenger to climb in right next to their seats and get settled in comfort. Entry to the rear seats is also made much easier by the car's unusual door concept. The carbon spaceframe construction, together with the impressively high torsional stiffness of the underbody structure, allows the arrangement of the side sills to be combined with extremely high body rigidity.

In addition, an extremely sophisticated opening mechanism ensures easy access into the car, even in tight parking spaces. The front-hinged doors have a double-hinge joint, which also allows a large opening angle when space is restricted. The innovative character of this construction element is also evident when the doors are closed, the carbon hinges standing out visibly in form and color from the rest of the body. The MINI Rocketman Concept thus takes a stylistic cue from the classic Mini, whose exterior-mounted door hinges also went on to become an identifying characteristic.

Projector-Style Rear Lights, Illuminated Glass Roof

The rear lights of the MINI Rocketman Concept have a trapezoidal stirrup design - into which all the light functions are integrated - and work using projector technology. The lamp assembly projects the rear and braking light and the light for the direction indicators onto the car body. The high-output LED units used for the lights ensure that even this indirect illumination concept produces the accustomed intensity of light that is necessary for safety.

The roof of the MINI Rocketman Concept also puts on an extraordinary light show. The full-surface glass roof is segmented by illuminated braces to recreate the look of Britain's Union Jack flag. When not illuminated, the longitudinal, horizontal and diagonal braces glow a bright Porcelain White. In darkness the integrated optical fibers give the interior of the MINI Rocketman Concept a pleasantly indirect illumination and, as a result, a more effective nocturnal appearance.

The bright color of the roof and mirror caps - likewise painted Porcelain White - create an attractive contrast to the Bermuda (a warm shade of grey) of the body. The areas of carbon visible at the front end and around the doors add further striking touches.

Seat Concept

The arrangement of the seats and control elements in the passenger compartment of the MINI Rocketman Concept ensures maximum versatility for the widest possible range of mobility needs. The low-weight seats, which are traditional MINI in form, offer a high level of comfort and optimum lateral support even for sporty drivers. The amount of space for the driver and passengers can be varied as required. Three individual seats slide fore and aft, allowing a high level of comfort with generous head, leg and shoulder room. There is also an additional seat in the rear, whose backrest can be folded down fully to serve as a stowage surface.

Three mobility scenarios have been developed to define the real-life usage possibilities offered by the interior of the study. In a layout designed specially to enhance a sporting driving experience, the MINI Rocketman Concept offers just the right amount of space for the driver and front passenger. The front seats are pushed back as far as possible and the instrument cluster also slides fore and aft to provide the ideal position for a full-blooded driving experience.

Innovative Operating Concept

An operating concept developed for the MINI Rocketman Concept brings together principles from the MINI design handbook, innovative new functions and a pioneering operating system to serve up even greater driving fun over both short and long journeys. A cockpit instrument, positioned above the steering wheel and therefore directly in the driver's field of view, houses the rev counter and on-board computer display. The large-format Centre Speedo with peripheral speedometer and multifunctional color display also adheres to the system logic familiar from the current range of series-produced MINI cars as far as display arrangement is concerned. The development of the rigorously applied display/control element separation principle, meanwhile, has been taken to the next level.

In addition to multifunction buttons on the steering wheel, the current MINI also has a joystick on the centre console for operating vehicle-related, navigation, entertainment and communications functions. By contrast, the MINI Rocketman Concept concentrates all the control elements on the steering wheel. This reflects an ongoing commitment to the concept of simple and intuitive operation, and means that the driver can operate more functions than ever while keeping both hands on the steering wheel at all times.

A press of the thumb on the relevant multifunction buttons on the left-hand steering wheel spoke is all that is required to use front-line controls such as the volume for the audio system and the call pick-up function for incoming telephone calls. In addition, a trackball is integrated into the right-hand steering wheel spoke. Inspired by computer operating, this element allows the driver to control an impressively wide range of processes. For example, to navigate through the menu levels the driver turns the trackball horizontally, while vertical movements allow him to scroll up and down lists. The driver then selects the desired function with a press of the trackball. With selected functions such as in-car internet, the driver uses his thumb to move the cursor around the display in any direction.

The graphics in the color display of the Centre Speedo are more diverse, higher quality and sharper than ever. High-resolution 3-D graphics open up new possibilities in the need-based selection of functions using the trackball and display. According on the driver's preference and the driving situation, particularly relevant displays and alerts are moved into the foreground, while the remaining status displays remain visible on a display level further back. This makes it significantly easier to move quickly and intuitively between the navigation map display, music program selection and telephone contacts list.

Flawless Connectivity

The navigation, communications and entertainment systems in the MINI Rocketman Concept represent the consistent further development of the functions already available through MINI Connected in current series-produced MINI cars. Intelligent connectivity turns the car into a mobile element of the driver's personal lifestyle. Internet-based services for communications, integrated navigation and an almost limitlessly expandable entertainment program play a key role in maximizing driving fun, comfort and safety. With the control elements developed for the MINI Rocketman Concept, personalized usage of these functions reaches a new level. The removable control unit (for comfort and connectivity functions) integrated into the Centre Speedo can be configured on a computer before the start of a journey, enabling the driver to transfer new music files, a navigation destination and contact details for mobile communications and internet usage into the vehicle with maximum convenience.

These innovative control systems allow driving fun in a MINI to become an integrated component of the driver's personal lifestyle more than ever. Indeed, information, images, data, contacts and media can be made available in digital form for mobile usage anywhere - at home, at the workplace or while on the move. Known as the MINI Rocketman Concept, the mobile control unit stores telephone numbers and email contacts, as well as navigation data, internet addresses and full websites or messages from online social networks, music files, photos and videos. This provides a direct route into the MINI for additional sources of driving fun in the shape of new destinations, important contacts, up-to-date information, exciting sounds and powerful images. In the opposite direction, this extended connectivity can also enrich everyday life outside the car; for example, new contact details from telephone calls or online connections can also be made available outside the car via the MINI Rocketman Concept.

MINI Rocketman Concept: Photo Gallery, Review (1/2) and Specifications

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